What’s up? (April 3-9)
A stake in Twitter and a seat on its board
Twitter announced last week that Elon Musk would join its board after buying a 9.2 percent stake in the company, making him its largest shareholder. Mr. Musk had contacted Twitter’s chief executive, Parag Agarwal, before buying the company’s shares, to let Mr. Aggarwal know he wanted to discuss reforming Twitter, people familiar with the discussion said. Mr. Musk’s board seat expires in 2024, and he has agreed not to buy more than 14.9 percent of Twitter’s stock. But unlike some other members of Twitter’s board, they didn’t sign an agreement to stop them from influencing company policies. Mr Musk, who has gotten in trouble for his own tweets, has publicly criticized Twitter for its content moderation policies and advocated open-source algorithms on the platform. He asked his more than 80 million followers last month if they wanted the ability to edit tweets.
Europe bans Russian coal
European Union leaders on Thursday announced a fifth round of sanctions on Russia for the first time, targeting the country’s energy. The new measures would cut Russian coal in four months, which was longer than a month initially proposed. The extended timeline for the withdrawal – as well as the delay in the bloc’s decision, which was expected on Wednesday – revealed some of the difficulty of reaching an agreement among all 27 member states and the agreement required by countries such as Germany. Which is more dependent on Russia for coal. And many have warned EU leaders that the sanctions could harm Europe more than Russia, raising energy prices and hurting industry: Russia supplies nearly half of the bloc’s coal. Still, with the United States, Colombia and South Africa potentially being able to help fill gaps in supply, coal may be the energy source that is easiest to replace.
Verdict in a Fraud Scam
Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was indicted on Friday on charges of bribery and money laundering. Most likely he is the only person to face trial in the United States in connection with a plan to launder more than $4 billion from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad. During the two-month trial, Mr. Ng’s lawyers attempted to portray the government’s main witness, Tim Leisner, as a liar. Mr Leisner is another former Goldman banker who pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in the scheme. And Mr. Leisner himself admitted during interrogation that he had lied “a lot” about his personal life and that of his co-workers as well as investigators. But a jury on Friday found Mr Ng guilty of all charges, which together carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years. The architect of the plan, Zho Lo, is a fugitive and is believed to be living in China.
What will happen next? (April 10-16)
And you thought inflation was high
The consumer price index for March, due to be released on Tuesday, could show inflation – already climbing at its fastest pace in 40 years – rising even faster. Prices increased by 7.9 per cent during February, mainly driven by higher food costs and rents. Because the March report will capture rising gas prices that rattled drivers at the pump, inflation is expected to rise even further, above 8 per cent. The figure is bad news for the Federal Reserve, which will probably move more aggressively to curb inflation, and for President Biden, whose approval ratings have been hit by higher prices.